Growing up in Montana, my friends and I often played the ‘license plate game;’ a nonsense game in which each time you stop behind an out-of-state vehicle with a particular state slogan (for instance, Idaho plates generally say “famous potatoes” because why not) and if you can correctly yell out the state slogan before anyone else has the chance, you get to punch the other person in the arm—like ‘slug bug,’ but ever so slightly more entertaining.
Likewise, I often figured that my home state offered a similar level of entertainment given the abundance of specialty plates Montana makes available to its residents. For every standard plate, there are five more specialty plates. Which means that out-of-staters touring any part of our great state probably never even have the opportunity to figure out what plate is standard and what plate is specialty, because in a state where specialty is normal, there is no standard.
Which leads me to my main point: Montana is proud of itself. Weirdly proud of itself. So much so, that our state puts as many aspects of its unique personality on our license plates as it can. When you visit the License Plates Designs and Fees page of Montana’s state DOJ, it offers fourteen different genres of license plates to choose from. Not kidding. Fourteen genres. You could choose ‘Museums & History’ or ‘Government & Communities.’ Or, if you’re more outdoorsy, you might have to choose between the ‘Parks & Environment’ or the ‘Wildlife & Other Animals’ categories. And within these options, are many different plates. With something like 250 different plate options and the ability to personalize your plates (for basically nothing, I might add ) Montana offers many choices. But don’t fool yourself into thinking we’re just trying to entertain ourselves up here under four feet of snow.
Montana plates also have the ability to raise money for their organizations. For instance, only last quarter (April – June 2016) the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation raised over $46,000 from its plate. Even things as obscure as the Eureka Montana Quilt Show raised almost $2,000 solely from its specialty plate. And for the good they do, they even manage to save some people equivalent amounts of money.
For those who’ve read our blog, you’ll know that having a Montana license plate also means that you’ve benefitted from Montana’s Sales Tax Free Vehicle Registration. A Montana vehicle registration not only means that you have a cool license plate, but also that you’ve paid a vehicle registration fee based solely off the MMSRP and year of your vehicle, plus some handling fees because this is America. But unlike most states, which can charge sales tax as high 10%, Montana gives its residents a break when it comes to consuming. This means whether you prefer Jeeps or Ferarris, you can say ‘goodbye’ to the thousands of dollars in sales tax required to register vehicles in most other states.
Leading me to my next point. If you’ve read our blog thoroughly, you’ll also know that many out-of-staters have come to benefit from Montana’s “Wild West” mindset. In the last few years, many savvy RV’ers, luxury car owners and classic car enthusiasts have quickly followed suit by registering their luxury vehicles, travel trailers, and other recreational vehicles through a Montana LLC. If you aren’t caught up, check out our blog for a step-by-step guide through the process and then give our office a call or contact us via the web for details. Our staff has over 40 years of combined experience and professional attorneys that lead our team. Meaning that you’ll not only be hand-held through the process, but also that we’ll always have your best interests in mind. Frankly, the hardest part is coming up with a name for your new Montana LLC. And then all that’s left is to enjoy.